I have high cholesterol and am low thyroid. Over the past ten weeks I have struggled mightily to lose a mere five pounds; a paltry number that my younger, healthier body would have released in just a couple of weeks' time and with less effort. This morning I woke up, read the first two chapters of Joshua, and determined that through self-discipline and obedience to the Lord that I was going to prepare to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land of freedom from chubbiness.
I poured a bowl of high fiber cereal and then went into Mom's room for a cup of coffee from our communal pot. She was in bed, covered cozily with a quilt, the cat curled at her feet.
"I would like a sausage and egg sandwich please, on toast, light on the mayo," she said.
This lead balloon didn't make it over my head--it bonked me smack between the eyes. Reeling with the unfairness of the fact that my 85-year-old mother does not harbor a whit of guilt over her extra pounds nor despite her fondness for fried foods does she have high cholesterol, I responded with silence and attempted to tiptoe from the room, pretending not to have heard her request. I'd just reached the door when she said, "Hello? Did you hear me?" And she repeated her desire for a forbidden-to-me (and imprudent for her) cholesterol laden breakfast.
"We have no sausage," I lied. To further clarify I added, "You always get your own breakfast." And then, unwisely, "It's the only meal you get on your own."
She ignored my jibe regarding her lack of self-sufficiency, but there was a dangerous edge to her voice as she said incredulously (as to the waitress in a second rate cafe), "You don't have sausage? Well may I at least have an egg?"
What sort of a person would deny her aging mother an egg?
At this juncture I departed completely from wise caregiving practice. I did not tell a kind-hearted therapeutic lie (I am so sorry we have no eggs or sausage because of my special diet, but when I go to the store I'll buy you some Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits). Instead, I attempted to elicit her maternal sympathy. I explained about my high cholesterol, and how I was working hard to lose weight and that it would be difficult to prepare a sizzling fried egg topped with a fragrant sausage patty when I could not partake myself.
In long-suffering tones she replied, "Forget it. I don't know why I ever ask to have something I want. I'll just have toast." (a dry crust of bread, a bowl of stagnant water)...
I can never beat my mother on her own playing field. Laden with guilt I nearly ran into the kitchen, found the package of sausage patties in the freezer, and prepared one for her. I took it in and left it on her counter, where she will find it when she makes her morning toast.
But she by golly didn't get an egg.